There's a place on every street where private land bumps up against the public right of way. In cities this is usually the point where the sidewalk edge ends and the private parcel begins. A truly urban environment will have the building front next to the sidewalk for a seamless transition with absolutely no setbacks. This is a critical ingredient for the vibrant streetlife we all want to see downtown and in our neighborhood business districts. It doesn't end there however.
High quality streets also require that there be a visual connection
between people on the sidewalk and the activity inside the building.
When that connection is severed it degrades the public space and alienates the pedestrian.
A recent stroll down 1st Avenue past the Commercial Building we discovered Blue Ray's recent application of mirrored glazing to their large storefront windows. For at least seventy-five feet the facade is one big mirror allowing no connection and urging any passersby to move along as quickly as possible. Millions of dollars have been invested along 1st Ave and the Davenport Arts District over the past decade. It's disheartening to see such a blatant disregard for that investment and our public right-of-way. Quality public space is the lifeblood of any decent city.